Story type: Essay
During the past few years in the history of our republic, we have had leprosy, yellow fever and the dude, and it seemed as though each one would wreck the whole national fabric at one time. National and international troubles of one kind and another have gradually risen, been met and mastered, but the great national abscess known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints still obstinately refuses to come to a head.
I may be a radical monogamist and a rash enthusiast upon this matter, but I still adhere to my original motto, one country, one flag and one wife at a time. Matrimony is a good thing, but it can be overdone. We can excuse the man who becomes a collection of rare coins, stamps, or autographs, but he who wears out his young life making a collection of wives, should be looked upon with suspicion.
After all, however, this matter has always been, and still is, treated with too much levity. It seems funny to us, at a distance of 1,600 miles, that a thick-necked patriarch in the valley of the Jordan should be sealed to thirteen or fourteen low-browed, half human females, and that the whole mass of humanity should live and multiply under one roof.
Those who see the wealthy polygamists of Salt Lake City, do not know much of the horrors of trying to make polygamy and poverty harmonize in the rural districts. In the former case, each wife has a separate residence or suite of rooms, perhaps; but in the latter is the aggregation of vice and depravity, doubly horrible because, instead of the secluded character which wickedness generally assumes, here it is the common heritage of the young and at once fails to shock or horrify.
Under the All-seeing eye, and the Bee Hive, and the motto, “Holiness to the Lord,” with a bogus Bible and a red-nosed prophet, who couldn’t earn $13. per month pounding sand, this so called church hanging on to the horns of the altar, as it were, defies the statutes, and while in open rebellion against the laws of God and man, refers to the constitution of the United States as protecting it in its “religious belief.”
In a poem, the patient Mormon in the picturesque valley of the Great Salt Lake, where he has “made the desert blossom as the rose,” looks well. With the wonderful music of the great organ at the tabernacle sounding in your ears, and the lofty temple near by towering to the sky, you say to yourself, there is, after all, something solemn and impressive in all this; but when a greasy apostle in an alapaca duster, takes his place behind the elevated desk, and with bad grammar and slangy sentences, asks God in a businesslike way to bless this buzzing mass of unclean, low-browed, barbarous scum of all foreign countries, and the white trash and criminals of our own, you find no reverence, and no religious awe.
The same mercenary, heartless lunacy that runs through the sickly plagiarism of the Book of Mormon, pervades all this, and instead of the odor of sanctity you notice the flavor of bilge water, and the emigrant’s own hailing sign, the all-pervading fragrance of the steerage.
Education is the foe of polygamy, and many of the young who have had the means by which to complete their education in the East, are apostate, at least so far as polygamy is concerned. Still, to the great mass of the poor and illiterate of Mormondom this is no benefit. The rich of the Mormon Church are rich because their influence with this great fraud has made them so; and it would, as a matter of business, injure their prospects to come out and bolt the nomination.
Utah, even with the Edmunds bill, is hopelessly Mormon; all adjoining States and Territories are already invaded by them, and the delegate in Congress from Wyoming is elected by the Mormon vote.
I believe that I am moderately liberal and free upon all religious matters, but when a man’s confession of faith involves from three to twenty-seven old corsets in the back yard every spring, and a clothes line every Monday morning that looks like a bridal trousseau emporium struck by a cyclone, I must admit that I am a little bit inclined to be sectarian in my views.
It’s bad enough to be slapped across the features by one pair of long wet hose on your way to the barn, but to have a whole bankrupt stock of cold, wet garments every week fold their damp arms around your neck, as you dodge under the clothes line to drive the cow out of the yard, is wrong.
It is not good for man to be alone, of course, but why should he yearn to fold a young ladies’ seminary to his bosom? Why should this morbid sentiment prompt him to marry a Female Suffrage Mass Meeting? I do not wish to be considered an extremist in religious matters, but the doctrine that requires me to be sealed to a whole emigrant train, seems unnatural and inconsistent.